Im two weeks deep into this recovery process and let me tell you, this week I have felt unstoppable, alive and constantly grateful.
Last week was a tough one and I'm not kidding myself, I know that of course there will be many weeks alike to cause a rough patch on my yellow brick road but right now I'm going to bathe in these good feelings. By day 12 I had achieved 98 degrees in flexion, walked without my crutches at a quicker pace than a turtle and even got to walk on the treadmill. Its crazy that I could walk or run km's only weeks prior and now a mere 360m had me slightly sweating and legs that turned into jello. Are you kidding me ?! like how unfit have I become in two weeks haha!!!
I did my first squats on a leg press on 40kg ( Even with this silly knee I can still press more than my mother) , did some reformer exercises to work on my extension and being able to control my muscles when straightening my knee. Morgan feels uneasy when she watches me tense and my little quad quivers in an attempt to appear strong, I think its cute - come on buddy you will get there ! I'm rooting for you. I saw my surgeon and got the tick of approval, and........ I got to dive into the ocean for the first time ! OK I'm lying, by dive what I actually mean in cautiously one step at a time lower myself into the water holding my mothers arm (dive just sounded more exciting). For my friends reading this, I'm sure I need not explain the overwhelming feelings that cursed through me as my head went under. I took a moment to float, close my eyes and speak to myself about how proud I am for working hard, everything I am grateful for and how much I have to look forward to. I almost shed a tear because thats the kind of emotional clown I am but mum caught me in the moment and her face as she said " ahhh your smile baby" said it all for how much happiness this moment brought me. Heading into this week with a brave spirit and excited for the progress that will come with it .
Now for my thoughts this week..... let me ask, do you believe in signs ? I mean those events that cannot be written as a coincidence that let you know you are on the right path, that assert what the gut feeling was telling you , that guide you towards something you are meant to see, hear or do. I do. If you do or would like to learn some more one of the greatest books I came across on this topic is E squared by Pam Grout.
There is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt which has plopped itself into my sight not twice, but three times in the past two weeks. The first time was the day I got the news that I would be needing a reconstruction- a friend posted it on instagram and I must admit I began reading it but it was extremely long and I couldn't be bothered so I gave up and skipped past it. Only a few hours later I began reading "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown- a book that my lovely friend Daniel bought for me and 3 pages in- BAM!! There was the same quote. I laughed and thought "Wow. I am totally meant to be reading this book right now and maybe i am meant to learn something from this quote". Actually taking my time to read it, I fell in love with it. A week later as I am reading my new book "The Charge" by my favorite Author Brendan Burchard what quote out of every quote in the world could I turn the page to read, yes you guessed it... this one right here !
" It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat".
Theodore Roosevelt, From the speech "Citizenship in a Republic", Delivered at the Suborn, Paris, April 23, 1910.
This quote has since become my quote to keep me fighting through this recovery process. I am face down in that arena after daring greatly. I will stand up again and again no matter what this life throws at me as I tackle the things that mean the world to me and deliver a triumph of high achievement or at least know I never gave in to comfort. The first sentences also got me thinking about criticism, judgement from others and also my fear of rejection and failure. Id like to let you sit on this quote, have a think about what it stirs within you and start thinking about the topics I just mentioned. I can't wait to discuss in my next blog what Brendan highlighted for me through his use of this quote. Until then, have a lovely week little daisies !.
^ The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up. This is one of my favorite quotes from author Brene Brown.
Today we are proud to show the scars we bare from tumbling down and standing back up again as a story of triumph and as a form of inspiration. In stories we tell others we have a brief beginning, a minimal section dedicated to "i pushed through the storm" and then an extra long 30 minute speech on the wonders we learnt, what the universe delivered and how happy we are now thats its all done and dusted.
Rarely do we see the wounds of others fresh and open and in the long process of healing or share our own process of this with others. We have become ashamed to lay bare our journey overcoming hurt at our deepest and darkest and maybe it is because society today tends to cringe away when we muster the courage to speak openly about the demons in our heads, the tremulous thoughts and our own failures. Mindfulness and speaking openly and truthfully has grown from its "taboo" status but not enough i believe. We really have to start taking a stand, being brave and recognizing the strength and beauty in truth and telling our honest accounts of showing up and tackling our adversity. We need to create environments where people will feel supported to lay naked their monsters and throw back their pride and ask for help. I Hope that if you are experiencing any moment where you feel suffocated in a mountain of rubble and are trying to pull yourself up that this journal will help you be honest with your hurt, find and open up to support and to stand tall again owning your entire story. Heres to a generation where we no longer act out our hurt but instead sit in it and say "damn. I am not ok and i need your help".
Ok enough blabbering Tash, lets get to the experience of my first week post-op. This week entailed 3 sessions with my Fabulous physiotherapist Denny at Hills Street Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Centre (If you are on the central coast and injured this is the place to be ) . Week 1 post op from an ACL reconstruction is all about regaining your motion and mobility, waking up those tiny quadriceps and of course relieving pain and minimizing swelling. My life has consisted of RICER day in and day out and exercises with my physio and at home. They say that by 1 week you should be aiming to reach around 90 degrees in flexion and almost your full extension. It is very important to get your quadriceps fired up and awake so that they can be in control of this mobility and so that your progress isn't delayed. As most little dancers I have quite extreme hyper extension so my extension at week one is almost what most would call "straight" however i need to take my time getting to my usual Hyperextension so that my ACL isn't over stretched in early days but my physio has assured me that my arabesque (as low as it is these days ) will still be as pretty as ever... awww denny!.
I won't lie- my pain on the first day was unbearable. My younger sister Gabii couldn't help laugh in pity as my body shivered and tears wouldn't stop flowing from the pain. I wish I had been given morphine but my surgeon doesn't believe in it (maybe he would if he saw the pain I was in ). From day 2 onwards the pain definitely eased off thank the gods but damn it hurts to get that little stiff leg moving. My anxiety was in full swing as I tried to move my leg as much as I should but any moment i would feel a pinch i thought "great i've broken it already" "why is it hurting" and off I went into a frenzy hyperventilating that I needed surgery again and it was over. Luckily my physio and parents have been all types of incredible at easing my over productive mind and soothing me through my rehab exercises . At 6 days in i had 87 degrees of flexion and a straight leg so I'm one happy chappy at that.
I am onto one crutch now and have walking exercises to practice my gait ( a persons manner of walking) because its turned into a sort of zombie high hipped peg leg show that absolutely must be changed. I find it crazy how something as simple as walking can be forgotten in days and how hard it is to focus your mind on getting back to "what is normal" . Our body subconsciously creates any habit to try and protect itself. As I hobble to get to the bathroom, to sit in pain from my hamstring, and need assistance up stairs I became so grateful for all the daily tasks that I seemed to take fore granted before. How lucky we are to simply walk, jog, run, swim, cross our legs everyday!
This week was rough guys. Many tears, many numb moments of feeling worthless, lost, heartbroken, not enough, and incapable. I felt every emotion from shame, guilt, failure, unloved, anxiety and deep sadness to feeling happy, unstoppable, inspired and proud. It really is a whirlwind to filter through a different emotion every 10 minutes or to sit deeply in one that eats you alive for a little too long. The most important thing I know is that even at its worst I absolutely allowed myself to live and breathe in that emotion, to fully absorb and understand it and then get curious as to why I am feeling it and what I can do that is in my control from there. I know that this healing will takes its time but I will conclude it as a whole hearted, courageous, loving, honest and open person as i have not run away from my feelings, I have not off loaded them and I have not acted against my integrity and my values. I let myself feel those feelings and then use my thoughts as I read an incredible book, sip a delicious coffee or breath in the salty air to bring me back up to the positive, radiant, determined thing I am. Our thoughts have an incredible power over our reality and our happiness and it can be really easy to surrender into what feels safe and comfortable. Speaking for myself I know that as much as it can hurt sometimes I need my support system to snap me out of it, and see my situations through another perspective. I have to be stern with myself and tell myself I am over reacting, focusing on the negative or that its time now to look up and forward.
As I head into my second week I am so grateful for every friend who has come down to the coast to keep my spirits high, every message and phone call, flowers and especially my family and Morgan whom have been at my side every wonderful and not so wonderful day. Ready to kick Week 2 in the butt with some positivity and sunshine.